Food is essential every day, but Hunger Action Month comes just once a year. Every September, we celebrate this opportunity to recognize the many ways that Oregonians work to end hunger and advocate for food justice.
Food is a human right. Food justice is the understanding that hunger is a systemic issue that requires systemic solutions. Food alone will not solve hunger. Even on the day Oregon Food Bank reaches every stomach with fresh food, hunger will still exist the next day. To end hunger for good, we need to dismantle the systems that perpetuate hunger and commit to centering those who most disproportionately experience hunger across our service area — Black, Indigenous and all People of Color, immigrants and refugees, gender-expansive individuals and single mothers and caregivers.
Achieving food justice requires community support, but support goes beyond money. Instead, at the center of our work, you’ll find love and equity. We celebrate everyone who works to end hunger: volunteers, donors, anti-hunger advocates — our community and our collective.
Here are just a few ways our communities have shown up for food justice this Hunger Action Month.
Volunteers are at the heart of our operations. Oregon Food Bank was even featured in The Standard Volunteer Expo on September 7, celebrating and recruiting volunteers alongside more than 100 other local nonprofits.
Thousands of volunteers throughout Oregon and SW Washington ensure donated food is high-quality, sorted and out the door to the people who need it. This Hunger Action Month, we’re grateful for the companies and their teams who spent time volunteering at Oregon Food Bank. To name a few: Avangrid Renewables, the Portland Trail Blazers basketball operations staff, and over 140 staff and players of the Portland Timbers and Thorns collectively moved 53,129 pounds of food – the equivalent of 44,274 meals!
“At the Trail Blazers, we are grateful for the dedicated work of local nonprofits, like Oregon Food Bank,” said Annie Klug, Vice President of Community Programs for the Portland Trail Blazers. “It’s through their work that true impacts are made on issues like food insecurity and we are thankful to be able to support their work by volunteering to help process food donations.”
Community support reaches past volunteering — events of all kinds can help end hunger. Long-term partners The Oregon Tuna Classic Fishing Tournament, in cooperation with Title Sponsor Pacific Seafood Inc. supplied over 3,500 pounds of fresh fish to the Oregon Food Bank Network this year and raised significant funds on behalf of Oregon Food Bank to raise awareness of local food systems and our role in them. This event provides economic benefits to smaller coastal communities in Oregon.
In the Portland Metro Area, the Hillsboro Hops baseball team collected funds and food at games throughout the summer. And Portlanders flocked to Portland Public House every Tuesday in September for Deschutes Community Pints. For every pint sold during this event, Deschutes donated $1 to Oregon Food Bank. Every day, our network is stronger because of the love our community pours into these innovative fundraisers.
For the first time since 2019, Portland’s engineering and architecture firms came out in full force for an in-person CANstruction event. The teams built four structures out of canned food, which were displayed to the public at Pioneer Place Mall. After being disassembled, the cans were donated to Oregon Food Bank and totaled 19,130 pounds of food! The CANstruction community also raised $1,200.
“This event bridges creativity and conscience, showcasing how businesses can impact their community beyond their core operations,” shared Chris Mount, CANstruction Committee Director and Structural Engineer with Schutte Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Our community comes together in many creative ways to address the root causes of hunger. Because hunger is caused by systemic injustices, the only solution is systemic change. During Hunger Action Month we heard from sports teams, restaurants, engineers, tomato fans, beer drinkers, volunteers, farmers, donors, advocates, food lovers and more. All of them had the same thing to say: it’s time to end hunger for good.
Collective action continues past Hunger Action Month! To get involved or learn more, email us at email@example.com.